UFC 131 is in the books, and the town is now reverted back to Hockey mode. However the impact of UFC 131 could very well have some far reaching implications into the future of the UFC. During every event, fighters help and hurt their careers with their performances. Here we’ll break down the Five fighters who did the most to further their career and feather their nests.
Junior Dos Santos
Junior Dos Santos didn’t just beat Shane Carwin, he beat him up. He used his superior footwork and speed to beat Carwin to the punch and floored him in first then landed some twenty some odd shots that had Carwin bloodied and concussed. The rest of the fight found a bloodied and seemingly bewildered Shane Carwin on the receiving end of some Dos Santos shots and in the end, the result was never in doubt.
The win will earn Junior Dos Santos a championship showdown with Cain Velasquez sometime this fall, and an opportunity to live his dream. He has all the tools needed to be the champion and would also be a marketable and charismatic title holder.
In a fight where he needed to step up and perform, he did just that. Junior looked remarkable on the largest stage he’s been on and deserves a definite High Five for his efforts Saturday night.
Kenny Florian has dropped enough weight in the UFC to win the Biggest Loser, but the kid isn’t a loser. Making his Featherweight debut against the very talented and game Diego Nunes, Kenny looked durable, strong and fast en route to winning a unanimous decision. Kenny worked hard throughout the fight and was very impressive both standing and grappling. He did however get clipped in the closing seconds and had Diego had time to follow up, he might have closed the show. It was yet another time when many people (myself included) underestimated Kenny Florian and looked silly for doing so.
The win puts Kenny Florian at the front of the line to fight Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title. The fight will be very good and it will present another chance for Kenny Florian to put an elusive championship belt around his waist. Florian’s journey from 185 to 145 has been pretty amazing, and he now sits one win away from fulfilling his destiny.
Kenny Florian said he began the cut to 145 began north of 180 pounds. For that alone he deserves a High Five, but to cut that weight and then look that good in the fight, that’s worthy of two High Fives!
Let’s face it; Joey’s back was against the wall. He’d lost two consecutive fights in the UFC and a third would have had him seeking employment elsewhere. In front of him, Aaron Rosa stood rugged and ready sling hands in a fight that would determine Beltran’s employment. Beltran never wavered and he and Rosa stood in the pocket and threw down hockey style in the middle of the Octagon. When the smoke cleared, Rosa was out of it and the referee stopped the fight. Beltran had earned the 3rd round TKO and more than that saved his UFC career.
Where Beltran goes from here is anyone’s guess. He will likely get a fight with an up and coming Heavyweight like Dave Herman or a veteran on his way down like Mirko Cro Cop. The bottom line is that his next fight WILL be in the UFC and for that, the amiable Beltran gets a High Five.
Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout proved that the nickname fit Saturday when he hit Yves Edwards with a picture perfect left hook that stopped Yves cold. The Knock Out was devastating and Yves hit his head on the mat as he fell. He was down for a long period of time and was able to leave the cage under his own power after some time spent with doctors. Sam Stout has been looking very sharp of late and this is another big feather in his cap. He’s won four of five and continues to gain steam in the Lightweight division.
Sam can expect to jump up in competition for his next fight. Perhaps a rematch with Jeremy Stephens who he lost a split decision to, or a fight with Donald Cerrone would be very entertaining. For stepping in and knocking out a very game Yves Edwards, Sam gets a deserved High Five!
Shane Carwin lost the fight, and was battered by Dos Santos, but as a man and as a fighter, he earned my respect and admiration. He was brutalized in the final minute of the first round and yet he survived and answered the bell to start the second round. He honestly could have and should have been stopped in the fight, but he kept fighting and until the final bell ended the fight, he never quit.
People in the sport are quick to call someone “exposed” or “overrated.” Usually it’s idiocy and can be laughed off, but anyone who questions Shane’s heart after this fight, has no business in or around the fight game. The only thing exposed was the fact he has miles and miles of heart. Overrated? Not a chance! He met a formidable opponent head on and fought through punishment that would have folded 99% percent of the population up. Shane Carwin doesn’t know how to quit and he he’ll be back. All I know is whether it matters to him or not, he’s getting one hell of a High Five!